Severn Estuary viewpoint, Portskewett
The landscape you can see from this point on the Wales Coast Path is rich in natural and human treasures. During the last Ice Age (which ended c.12,000 years ago), sea levels fell by c.135 metres and the Severn Estuary became land. As glaciers melted and the sea gradually rose, hunter-gatherers began to live here. Remains of their hearths, tools and even food have been found in the area.
In a field north of the inland end of Black Rock Road is a burial chamber known as Heston Brake – a Neolithic barrow measuring 25 by 12 metres. Inside are two chambers with an internal connection.
The Severn Estuary Levels Research Committee has documented the changing sea level and drowning of the landscape over geological time.
The two Severn motorway bridges, either side of you here, are features of today’s landscape, marking the extent of human endeavour to span the gap between Wales and England over the centuries.
The estuary provides rich feeding grounds for wildlife. Each year, c.100,000 migratory birds spend the winter in this designated Special Protection Area. They include white-fronted geese, teal, pintails, whimbrel and ringed plover. The estuary has more than 100 fish species, with salmon and sea trout migrating annually to its eight tributary rivers. Gwent Wildlife Trust manages the Magor Marsh reserve on the Gwent Levels, a little to the east of here.
This viewpoint lies on the Monmouthshire section of the Wales Coast Path, a 1,400km (870-mile) route around Wales’ entire coastline. Use the navigation icons below to discover more about the hundreds of other places along the path where you can use HistoryPoints Quick Response codes to read about the objects or landscape in that area.
You can discover more on these themes by reading the panels at Black Rock or following the links below.
Geography – more about the changing shape of the land over time (SELRC website)
Landscape management – Seven Estuary Partnership website